Six years after 16-year-old American Kodosh Daniel Wultz, HY"D, died of wounds he sustained in a Tel Aviv suicide bombing, a US district court judge awarded his family $332 million in damages from Iran and Syria.
The Wultz family are members of the Chabad House of Weston, Florida, and a close talmid of Rabbi Yisroel Spalter, the Rebbe's Shliach to Weston. Daniel, HY"D, was a sophmore in the Jewish Day School in Plantation, and especially close to the Shliach, who described Daniel as being very spiritual. The Chabad community had a Tehillim vigil for his recovery, and Rabbi Spalter and the Chabad House president flew in to be at Daniel's bedside, and support the family in their tragedy.
The court found that Iran and Syria were responsible for providing material support for the April 17, 2006, attack, in which 11 people were murdered and over 60 others wounded when an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber detonated a bomb laced with nails and other projectiles in a crowded south Tel Aviv fast food restaurant.
In his ruling, Chief Justice Royce C. Lamberth said the bombing had been a “barbaric act” that had “no place in civilized society and represents a moral depravity that knows no bounds.”
Daniel’s father Yekutiel “Tuly” Wultz, who was seriously wounded in the attack; his mother, Sheryl; and his siblings Amanda and Abraham brought the civil lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, under powerful US anti-terrorism laws that permit American civilians to sue sovereign states who sponsor acts of terror.
Via their lawyers – New York attorney Robert Tolchin and Tel Aviv attorney Nitsana Darshan- Leitner – the Wultz family alleged that the Syrian and Iranian governments, both of which the US has designated as state sponsors of terrorism, provided Islamic Jihad with the material support and resources it needed to carry out the deadly attack.
The court learned that Daniel had been conscious immediately after the bombing and up until his death, and had suffered extreme physical and emotional pain both because he knew the horrific extent of his injuries and because he was aware he would die from them.
The 16-year-old suffered wounds including severe bleeding from multiple shrapnel wounds, a perforated bowel and multiple infections, including gangrene.
In their fight to save his life, surgeons at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital removed several of Daniel’s organs, and amputated two fingers and part of his right leg, but the teenager succumbed to his injuries and died on May 14, 2006.
His father, who was sitting with Daniel at the time of the bombing, endured extensive physical injuries as well as severe psychological damage. He still suffers pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, including terrifying nightmares and daily flashbacks of the attack.
The other members of the Wultz family, including Daniel’s mother, suffered serious psychological and emotional damage as a result of the bombing.
In addition to Iran and Syria, the Wultz family’s lawsuit named as defendants the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, the Syrian Ministry of Defense, Syrian Military Intelligence and the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Directorate.
In finding all of the plaintiffs responsible for providing the material support that led to the suicide bombing, Lamberth said the evidence established that Islamic Jihad “acted generally as an agent of the Iranian and Syrian defendants” and that “their financing, encouragement and instruction prompted [the attack].”